Face Making

Artist Gwenn Seemel’s bilingual blog about art, portraiture, free culture, and feminism.

On felted wool sculptures and being the patron

2012 . 05 . 08 - Comments / Commentaires (4)

For my mother’s birthday this year, I decided to give her some art, but, in a radical twist on this notion, I decided that, for once, I wouldn’t give her my art!  Instead, I commissioned Amelia Santiago to create a portrait of Rouzic Argwellan.

Amelia Santiago's Roo

Amelia Santiago’s Roo 2012

This is hardly the first time that Roo has had his portrait done—he is, after all, in a portrait painter’s family.  But it is his first time being portrayed in needle felted wool, and he’s very excited about it. We all are! I can’t get over how delightfully silly this portrait is, especially since it is simultaneously so exquisitely beautiful. Truly magical.

Amelia Santiago's Roo

detail image of Amelia Santiago’s Roo 2012

Commissioning it was surprisingly emotional for me. Something about being on the other end of a process that plays such a big part in my everyday turned my head a little inside out.

Elizabeth Knight's Irish Terrier 2012

Elizabeth Knight’s Irish Terrier 2012

In one of those funny moments of synchronicity, just as I was paying to have a wool sculpture of my favorite dog made, I ran across this work by Elizabeth Knight at PDX Contemporary.

Knight’s April show at the gallery had more than just sculptures like this one, and I quite liked some of that other work, but the felted wool stuff seemed a little flat to me. It’s possible that Knight hasn’t been working in this medium as long as Santiago or maybe she simply doesn’t have the aptitude that Santiago does, but I suspect that there’s something else at play.

Portraiture pushes an artist. It requires a finished work to not simply represent a human or other creature in general, but to evoke something more specific about a particular person or puppy. And the extra discipline required for a portrait tends to make for better art.

Amelia Santiago's Roo with Roo

Roo with Roo

And I promise I’m not just saying that because I happen to adore the subject of Santiago’s piece!

- Portraiture is hard. / Le portrait est difficile.
- How to commission an artist
- A little pouch of love

CATEGORIES: - English - Featuring artists - Portraiture - Practice - Reviews -

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(4) Comments / Commentaires: On felted wool sculptures and being the patron

-- Darin -- 2012 . 05 . 08 --

That last photo made my day.

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-- Gwenn -- 2012 . 05 . 09 --

Roo is not completely sure about the sculpture anymore.  I think it bothers him that we coo at it in the same way that we coo at him…!

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-- Linda Morgan -- 2012 . 11 . 26 --

I paid a deposit of $245.00 and never received product, refund, or response back.  I wish i received my commission.  I just got scammed.

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-- Gwenn -- 2012 . 11 . 26 --

Linda: I think that it would be better for you to send your comments directly to the artist.  I obviously had an excellent experience with Amelia.

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